Is chess declining in popularity?
In October, the New York Times canceled its chess column which had been a feature since 1962.
I think this is evidence of chess’s decline in popularity, although I have had a hard time finding anything definitive on the internet about whether chess is truly declining in popularity, which is perhaps masked by increasing interest in teaching chess in elementary schools, but that could actually in fact be further evidence of chess’s decline, for what used to be considered an entertaining game is now thought of as a learning exercise for small children.
Fifty years ago, what else was there for a nerdy guy to do besides play chess? Personal computers didn’t exist. Even Dungeons and Dragons didn’t exist. And television sucked compared to the quality of what you can watch today. But today, there are so many other entertainment options available, no one has time for chess. The type of people who used to play chess are now playing League of Legends or some other computer game.
Furthermore, I think that computer chess programs have ruined the mystery of chess. No one, not even the world’s best chess player, can consistently beat the top computer chess programs, and I can’t even beat Smallfish (the best free chess program for the iPad) on its easiest “beginner” setting.